Multitasking: how to survive in the XXI century

Modern life forces us to do several things at the same time. But does it work? And is it even necessary? Today we will talk in detail about multitasking, why there is no escape from it in the modern world.

Forget about the ability to fly. The only superpower we dream of today is doing several different things at the same time. However, unlike any other superpower, the ability to work in multitasking mode is often found as a basic requirement for employment.

The rise of multitasking is being spurred by the development of technology, as well as social change. Husbands and wives are no longer divided into breadwinners and housewives — now everyone must be both. Work and hobbies can be inseparable from each other. Your friends can contact you even if you are at work by sending you an email at 10 am. You get multiple messages while writing a paper for College.

This is a good change in many ways. How wonderful it is to be able to do important things and not waste time.

Yet we are beginning to realize that the benefits of a multitasking life are not so straightforward. We feel loaded with things that we may need to do at any time. We feel that we can be called at any time.

According to a recent study by Sabrina Pabilonia of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of the time devoted to homework, students listen to music or watch TV — in other words, work in multitasking mode. And this trend is only gaining momentum. Maybe they manage to process all the incoming information? They think so, even though research suggests otherwise.

Loops and lists

The word “multitasking” was not used in relation to people until the 1990s, for half a century it was intended exclusively to describe computers. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “multitasking” first appeared in print in the journal Datamation in 1966 when describing a computer capable of performing several different operations simultaneously.

Just like humans, computers usually create the illusion of multitasking, but in reality, they just switch between tasks very quickly. Only the computers switch faster, they don’t need 20 minutes to get back online after a break.

In addition, the computer will not worry about what is not done. As long as the queue passes and the text is sent to the printer, he will not feel any guilt for the fact that the mouse has hung for the last 16 milliseconds. The time will come to the mouse. Being a computer means never having to deal with the lack of motivation or guilt.

How can we maintain the feeling that everything is under control if we feel a constant sense of guilt for what we didn’t do?

David Allen, Author of the cult productivity book Getting Things Done

Every time you say to someone, “I’ll get back to it,” you start a cycle in your brain. And this cycle will continue there until you put a substitute in the system that you can trust.

Modern life encourages us to discover more and more new cycles. We don’t necessarily have a lot of work to do, but there is a lot of work to do that we need to be ready to do at any moment. Tasks inexorably flow into one another. No matter what we do, we can’t get rid of the feeling that we have to do something else. And this requires considerable mental effort.

The principle outlined in Getting Things Done is simple: close open loops. The details are more complicated, but the principle itself is exhaustive. After each task, you have done for yourself or someone else, write down what you plan to do next. Review the list of your next actions often enough — this will give you confidence that you are not missing anything.

The Allen method has many followers. Practice shows that many people find it extremely useful, including me. Yet it is only recently that psychologists E. J. Masicampo and Roy Baumeister have found an explanation for why people feel better because of the David Allen system. It is not necessary to finish the task to get rid of the Zeigarnik effect. A specific plan will help you do this. Write down the next action, and you will notice that the annoying inner voice is silenced. You transfer your anxiety to a piece of paper.

6 ways to become a multitasking Genius:

  1. Be careful

“The ideal situation for working in multitasking mode is when you can focus at the right time,” writes psychologist Shelly Carson. Tom Chatfield, the author of Live This Book, advises making two lists: one for things that are better done online, and the other for things that are better done offline. Connecting and disconnecting from the Internet must be a conscious action.

  1. Write it down

The main idea of “Get Things Done” by David Allen is to translate every vague thought and feeling of guilt into a certain action. Therefore, regularly record all the items and constantly review them. The goal is not to worry about the things that you are doing and the things that you have decided not to do right now, but at the same time to be sure that nothing will be lost.

  1. Tame your smartphone

A smartphone is a great but annoying assistant. Turn off unnecessary alerts: Most people don’t need to know about new tweets or incoming emails. Configure the storage system in your email. For example, when it is more convenient to answer a message using the keyboard (you need to write 50 words or more), you move the message to a special folder where it is stored until you get to the computer.

  1. Focus on short tasks

Pomodoro – a technique suggested by Francesco Chirillo – is to break a large task into several sets of 25 minutes (they are called tomatoes), between which a small break is arranged. Productivity guru Merlin Mann advises the electronic dash method — viewing an email or an urgent to-do list for a few minutes every hour. These techniques help you focus and at the same time allow you to switch between projects several times a day.

  1. Procrastinate to win

If you are simultaneously engaged in several interesting projects, you can put one aside and do another. This is exactly how Charles Darwin worked. Change is just as good as rest, and as psychologist John Kounios explains, switching between tasks like this encourages new ideas.

  1. Work in different directions

“Creative ideas come to people who work in different fields or lead several different projects,” says author and psychologist Keith Sawyer. By the way, Sawyer is also a jazz pianist, former management consultant, and game designer at Atari. Good ideas often come when your mind finds unexpected connections between different areas.

Tirupati Gumpula

Hi, I'm a Tech Enthusiastic and founder of Popular technology blogsWay to Hunt. & Elite Tricks. Want to promote your brand? Email: [email protected]

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